Can one God be 3 persons?
The Bible mentions three different manifestations of God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. However, the Bible also makes it clear that there is only one God. He is one being and three persons – this is very difficult for us to imagine.
For this, we often use the term “Trinity.” This term is not in the Bible. It is a word to express the 3 different persons of God. Although the greatness and complexity of God can never be fully understood by any of us, we can explore some of His characteristics from the Bible.
Some people may think that Mary –the mother of Jesus– is also part of the trinity, but that is incorrect. The trinity of God consists of God the Father, God the Son (The Word, Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit
God is One
The Bible is very clear about the fact that there is only one God. Here are a few verses from the Bible illustrating this:
- The first of the 10 commandments: “I am the Lord your God. […] “You must not worship any other gods except me. Exodus 20:2-3
- “(…)The Lord is our God. The Lord is the only God. Deuteronomy 6:4
- Through the prophet Isaiah, God declares: […] There was no God before me, and there will be no God after me. Isaiah 43:10
- The apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians: There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. There is one God and Father of us all, who rules over everyone. He works through all of us and in all of us. Ephesians 4:5-6
Father, Son, and Spirit
The essence of God cannot be explained in a simple way. That is not such a surprise; we cannot even fully understand the growing power of a flower seed or the formation of a human embryo. So, could we understand the Creator Himself?
In the three manifestations of God, we can observe a little of the greatness of God and His characteristics. The Father who cares for His children. The Son, who has been a human being just like us. The Holy Spirit, through whom God is present in the people who believe in Him.
Body, Spirit, and Soul
Man consists of a body, a spirit, and a soul: A human being, in addition to his physical body, has a spirit (ability to think) and a soul or “heart” (character, love). Together, these three elements compose one human being.
This may help a bit in understanding the different persons of God, but by no means explains all of it. God is not limited to a body; He is a spiritual being, and He is everywhere. Yet He has lived as a human being for some time so that He could execute His very special plan.
Jesus, Himself said:
The Father and I are one.” John 10:30
[…] Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father too. […] John 14:9b
Before creation, God was 3 persons
In the Bible, we can learn that the three persons of God already existed when the world was created. Thus, it is not the case that the Son of God came into existence since He was born on earth. The existence of God’s Spirit is also already described at the very beginning of creation;
The earth was without life and not yet useful for anything. Deep waters covered the earth, and darkness covered the water. God’s Spirit was moving like a storm over the surface of the water. Genesis 1:2
John starts his gospel by describing the “Word of God.” The Word of God refers to the Son of God, as we can read a few verses later;
In the beginning, before the earth was made, the Word was there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was there with God in the beginning. Everything was made through him, and nothing was made without him. John 1:1-3
The Word became a man and lived among us. We saw his divine greatness—the greatness that belongs to the only Son of the Father. The Word was full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Jesus is seated at God’s right hand?
Several Bible verses mention that Jesus is now seated on the throne at God’s right hand; for example, in Hebrews 12:2:
We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne. Hebrews 12:2
The Bible is full of metaphors to show us a picture of God’s spiritual world. After all, God does not have a physical body. The “sitting at the right hand” indicates the position and the power Jesus has in creation. It is a metaphor that indicates that all the honor and respect of God is because of Jesus. If you want to read more about this, read, for example, this link (in English).
We can learn from the Bible that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit form a unity, but are also three independent persons.
We can learn from the Bible that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit are a unity, but are also three independent persons.
It is impossible for us to fully understand that God is one being but also 3 persons. We do not have any other examples, so we will have to accept that God is greater than our imagination.